I will make no secret of it–I am definitely a cheerleader for the digital version of Project Life. In my opinion it’s the only reason I was able to keep up weekly AND complete an entire year on my first try. (I often begin projects with good intentions, oh they are such GOOD intentions, but time and commitments often get in my way..and…well…I end up with a lot of good intentioned unfinished projects all over the place!) I just know that if I would have bought a traditional kit last January I would have made it to about January 21st…and then threw in the towel!
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE cute paper products. LOVE them. I am sure if I ever went to a CHA event I would probably have heart palpitations and end up spending a lot of money on things that I was sure I was going to use. But I am trying to be more realistic with myself as I get older and I know that for my life now, with two kids under five, there is no way I could keep up with printing photos weekly. Not only that, I find it hard to believe I could keep the embellishments out of the hands (and mouth) of my one year old. For those of you that can do it–you have my admiration!
I have received quite a few emails since the Creative Team announcement last week asking how to get started with digital Project Life, or if I had any tips or tricks to share. A lot of you are like me, smack dab in a very busy point of life, and feel that this method may be the only way to keep up. (Or you have tried the traditional way only to fall behind and now want to see if it would be easier to keep up if done digitally.) I will be the first to tell you, I am no expert, and I probably do a lot of things “the hard way” because I don’t know any better. I thought I would pull together some resources for you in the event you want to dip your toe into the digital waters….
First up–some basic tutorials I have collected from around the internet that I am sure can help you get started:
- Using the Digital Project Life Templates: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAQ8y8Pq95k This is a great introduction on getting started from Jessica Sprague. (Project Life products used to be found at her website, which she references in the video, but can now be found at AC Digitals.) In this video she covers how to unzip the files, open them up, all about what the layers that are within the template, what clipping masks are…really everything you would need to know to make a basic 12×12 page. (This would be the digital equivalent of placing photos and cards in the pockets and calling it done.) Note that she only demonstrates “clipping” down the cards from a kit, but photos work the same way. (You would just open the photo you want to use in photoshop elements, and drag it over to the template just like she does the cards.) I have found that it works best to have the photos already sized, edited, and cropped before bringing them in–keeps the workflow that much more efficient.
- Adding Text To a Journaling Card: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bRUdknzqBA
- Cathy Zielske’s Vimeo Channel: http://vimeo.com/channels/410793 There is so much in here I can’t even begin to list it–but these are all awesome tutorials and will totally help you with your Project Life albums. I am in the middle of watching one right now and learned something new already!
- How to Add and Use Hand-Drawn Brushes on Photos: http://vimeo.com/12617832 This is a great tutorial from Ali Edwards that teaches the technique I use in almost every single Project Life layout I create.
- How to Add Text To Photos: http://vimeo.com/56348214 A great video from Cathy Zielske that highlights another technique I use weekly.
Once you have watched all of these videos you really will be ready for a digital 2013 if you want to go that route, being a digital project lifer really is that simple. And here is the thing….you can create 12×12 digital layouts like these for some weeks, and if you have time, the traditional way on others. I am a firm believer in Project Life being what works for you, and any skills and tricks you can learn along the way to keep the project alive for you all year long is all good. One of the things that really struck me the most this past year when creating layouts week after week was not the simplicity (although that is a big part of it) of it all–but the empowerment. Creating all of this stuff made me feel great. In this crazy, crazy, fast world…where it’s so hard to get caught up in the mess of self-doubt and guilt about how good of a mother/baker/homemaker I am…Project Life was the window I could look through and view just how much we did do together as a family. I could look back and see the we do have fun together, and our weeks aren’t as boring as I sometimes think they are. I may not have made as many batches of homemade cookies as I would have liked this past year, and I never did figure out how to make those cute lunches that look like animal scenes (pinterest really does drive me nuts sometimes), but I made an awesome album, that my family loves to look at, that’s all about US.
And that’s really all it’s about.
I touched on my process in my thoughts mid-year post this past summer, and all of it still rings true. I am forever grabbing time here and there to work on my pages, and I don’t think that will ever really change. I upgraded to an iphone 5 a few weeks ago specifically for the camera. (It really is that much better!) I do tend to grab my DSLR a lot more than I used to, but my phone is still my go-to piece of equipment. You don’t need anything fancy to be a good memory keeper!
The only thing that I will be changing up this coming year is how I put it all together. I can’t resist the allure of the insert and all of the extra sizes, so I will be printing through Persnickety Prints my 12×12 layouts and then putting them into a binder, versus uploading them to a Shutterfly photobook. I have decided I am going to use the Seafoam Kit as my main core kit but I am sure I will once again be using different kits for different weeks as the mood strikes me. There is too much cute stuff out there in the digi world not to!
I hope this post has helped you decide if digital could work for you in some way. If you have any additional questions, feel free to send them along!